, 24 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
A good Brexit deal is within grasp but MPs risk throwing that away in hope that by leaving with no deal, we might be able to improve our position

That's a HUGE brave gamble

It's time we took some deep breaths & went back to look at what's actually on the table

A thread 👇
Theresa May's Brexit deal remains the only actual deal on table

"Managed No Deal" or the Malthouse Compromise or whatever else are just ideas - not anything the EU has agreed to or shown any real interest in

I am yet to meet a single EU or European figure saying otherwise

Our entire public narrative of the deal was shaped by the resignation of key ministers - above all @DominicRaab

I understand why Raab resigned

Theresa May cut him out of negotiations & did give him chance to push for the backstop exit mechanism he believed he could secure

But because he & others resigned the public narrative became that the deal was dire

Yet the more I looked at it, the more convinced I was that it was actually quite good

The single biggest flaw is of course with backstop

But even there we are thinking about it wrong way

Theresa May's position is based on avoiding the backstop at all costs

That's ludicrous

Even if getting to the backstop is the last thing you want to do, telling your negotiating partner you'd do anything to stop getting there, means they have you over a barrel

And is the backstop actually so bad anyway?

Let's look at what it would actually mean if we got there to the backstop in early 2021

In the backstop we can -

✅ end free movement
✅ control our laws on services (80% of economy)
✅ scrap Common Agricultural Policy
✅ end Common Fisheries Policy, choosing who can fish in our waters
✅ not have to pay a penny - forget £350 million a week, we could pay £0

And -

✅ veto new EU goods & food laws from applying *anywhere* in UK
✅ sign & implement new services trade deals with countries eg Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland
✅ get tariff & quota free goods access to EU
✅ veto new EU rules covering labour or environmental laws

Plus -

✅ agree rollover of EU's existing trade deals - with, for example, Canada, S Korea & Japan
✅ negotiate extra agreements on services, investor protection or recognition of qualifications to those deals
✅ reject EU moves to a common asylum policy or so-called EU army

Oh and -

✅ escape EU's political project & commitment to ever closer union
✅ put @DanielJHannan & @Nigel_Farage out of a job
✅ resist the EU forcing us to open our markets to new trade deals (without our say)
✅ ensure open border between Northern Ireland & the Republic

Finally -

✅ use Northern Ireland's place as gateway to EU to our advantage by encouraging companies to invest there
✅ negotiate aviation agreements to help lower ticket prices
✅ take time to build a national concensus on right sustainable long-term arrangement with EU

I'm not pretending deal is perfect

It ain't (and I have written about the backstop's issues elsewhere)

Geoffrey Cox is rightly trying to sharpen our ability to exit backstop & get clearer assurances for N Ireland including on its interaction with Good Friday Agreement

But critics of deal are often blind to its benefits & unrealistic about the alternatives actually possible at this point in time

I don't see how Government could possibly hold together in event of No Deal

And as LBJ said the first rule of politics is the ability to count

No Deal ==> No Majority

So either a General Election with @theresa_may in charge (which we can guess about 117 Tory MPs would not want to see)

Or a sort of messy Government of national unity - you could call it a Coalition of Chaos if you wanted to be all @David_Cameron

If someone can explain how a Government could possibly hold together to make a success of No Deal with no working majority to speak of, please let me know

Delivering a successful No Deal, even if you think that’s possible, is out of reach with no majority

But but but “no deal is better than a bad deal” was in the manifesto, as we are told again and again


But the Government obviously doesn’t think it’s a bad deal. They think it’s a good deal (given the options at this point) and that’s why they agreed it!

If EU hadn’t moved on a UK-wide customs backstop, risking a hard customs border down Irish Sea, then I would have denounced deal & suspect Government would have too

As Theresa May said - no PM could have accepted that

But EU did move (even if almost no one here noticed)

The manifesto didn’t say: reject every deal unless perfect

Even if it did, I still don’t get how you deliver a workable No Deal with no majority

How do you pass key legislation with so many MPs implacably opposed?

Without majority you can’t “manage” No Deal

See LBJ rule

Every time I say anything positive about deal I get bombarded with tweets from #StandUp4Brexit or #GoWTO people saying deal can't get any worse

Thats absurd

If you don't like this deal try a softer deal in Single Market - no ending free movement & rule-taking on everything

It's time for everyone to take deep breaths & start from first principles

😬Yes you wouldn't have started here

😬Yes we have made loads of mistakes in negotiations

😬 Yes the PM can't explain her own flagship policy properly

But if you look calmly is it actually so bad?

The main downside to the deal is the lack of freedom to do our own comprehensive trade deals / control trade policy

I want to have that in medium-term

I don’t think the UK could sustainably be in a long-term customs union with the EU with no say over trade

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to spend some time in a customs union (to protect trade) and redesign our approach to customs - moving checks away from border, automating them, applying technology and other agreements to help resolve Irish border

Even on trade so much thinking is backwards

Yes I want ultimately to leave customs union so we can control our trade policy

But no deal would leave us with no trade deal with our biggest market

If you're determined to "go WTO" why do you think trade deals are important?

We are tantalising close

Passions are running high

Opinions are polarising not coming together

But it's not too late to secure a good Brexit

It's worth taking a cold hard look at the deal again - start with this @OpenEurope primer 👇


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